Meet the Board!

Brad Lester


Brad is the Assistant Controller at Luna Innovations Incorporated. Prior to joining Luna, he worked as an Audit Manager with Brown Edwards & Co. Brad also has experience in the mining and minerals sector as he has previously worked for a publicly traded coal company in various accounting and reporting roles. Brad lives in Roanoke with his wife and son, and their two dogs. When Brad is not working, he enjoys music, travelling, sports and spending as much time outside as possible. Brad graduated from Emory and Henry College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and from King University with a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Brad earned his CPA in August of 2014. He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In 2020, Brad was recognized by the VSCPA as one of the “Top 5 Under 35” recipients. The award which recognizes emerging CPA leaders under the age of 35 who have notable professional achievements, VSCPA accomplishments on the state or chapter level, community contributions and/or dedication to the CPA profession. 

Mikaela Cook

Vice President

Mikaela is a licensed CPA and an In - Charge Associate at Brown Edwards & Company, a regional Top 100 CPA firm. She joined Brown Edwards as an intern as she worked towards her Business Administration degree while concentrating in Accounting studies and later transitioned to a full-time role after graduating. At Brown Edwards, Mikaela works on a variety of clients in different industries in both assurance and tax work, while most of her experience is in not-for-profit entities, specifically higher education, and for-profit entities, specifically construction companies. Mikaela recently moved to Nashville, TN from the Roanoke area and enjoys spending time with family and friends in her free time. She will continue to work with our chapter remotely.

Ben Watts


Ben is an associate at Brown Edwards & Company and a licensed CPA. He has earned both his undergraduate degree and master’s degree in Accounting and Information Systems from Virginia Tech in 2019 and 2020 respectively. At Brown Edwards, he has worked on a variety of clients in multiple industries, including higher education institutions, non-profit entities, and public entities. Ben lives in Roanoke and in his spare time enjoys watching Virginia Tech football (even though they have been disappointing lately), cooking, hiking, and spending time with his wife and very spoiled dog.